The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China are the revisions and constitutional amendments to the original constitution to meet the requisites of the nation and the political status of Taiwan. The Additional Articles are usually attached after the original constitution as a separate document. It also has its own preamble and article ordering different from the original constitution.
The territory controlled by the Government of the Republic of China changed significantly after the Chinese Civil War. This created difficulties in holding elections on a national scale. Thus, the Additional Articles of the Constitution defines the Free Area (Chinese: 自由地區, Mandarin: Zìyóu Dìqū, Taiwanese: Chū-iû Tē-khu, Hakka: Chhṳ-yù Thi-khî) to address the territory and the people under the government‘s effective jurisdiction. Whilst all residents of China are nominally citizens of the Republic, only the citizens who have the right to abode in the Free Area may exercise the full civil and political rights, including suffrage and referendum.
The Additional Articles requires direct election of the President by the citizens of the free area. The first direct presidential election was held in 1996. Under the original constitution, the President was elected indirectly by the National Assembly.
The Additional Articles of the Constitution reformed the government of the Republic of China from a parliamentary system to a semi-presidential system. The National Assembly is abolished, and its functions are exercised directly by the citizens of the Free area. The five-power governmental structure is retained, though it functions closer to the traditional Western trias politica in practice.
The Additional Articles were ratified on June 7, 2005, a constitutional amendment or an alteration of the national territory has to be ratified by more than half (50%) of voters of the Free Area in a referendum after passed in the Legislative Yuan with a three-quarters majority. Before that, constitutional amendments and national territory alterations were ratified by the National Assembly.